Africa countries, as of Tuesday evening, had confirmed over 400 cases of COVID-19 on the continent, the World Health Organization has said.
Thirty African countries have recorded 475 cases according to Worldometer.
This has led some countries in the continent to shut their airports and land borders as many of the cases are imported.
Egypt, according to Ahram Online, announced it suspended flights from all airports starting Thursday to curb the spread of the virus.
Egypt is the epicentre of the virus in the continent, recording more than 150 cases and 2 deaths. “Schools and universities have been closed for at least 2 weeks,” state media reported.
Users on Twitter have shared their support for governments in Africa to impose travel bans. In Nigeria, the hashtag #NigeriaNeedsATravelBan trended.
Nwachukwu @NonsoTalks tweeted, “if this virus originated from Africa, all European, American, and Asian countries would have placed a travel ban on African countries. All. And that’s a fact.”
South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, Ghana, Uganda and Eritrea have placed restrictions and/or bans to restrict the spread of the virus.
Despite people’s cry for travel bans and restrictions, WHO advises against it, rather it “urged countries to not apply blind travel restriction in a way that would impact trade and travel.”
“The outbreak is evolving. It used to be China and now it is Italy and other countries are following after it. So we must be careful because we have seen an increasing number of countries imposing travel restrictions, and that means their perception of risks have changed.
“But have they done a risk assessment to their countries or are they just implementing those measures based on their perception?” WHO Africa’s Mary Stephen told CNN.
Ms Stephen, who works with WHO’s organisations emergencies team, also said “African countries need to enhance their capacities to detect early, isolate, and track all patients’ contacts and effectively manage the sick to curb the spread of coronavirus.”
“Airport screening and a robust surveillance system are effective ways to detect cases from travellers without symptoms,” she added.
She concluded by saying “WHO continues to advise countries not to impose travel restrictions but countries also have their sovereignty.”
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa
Below are the countries with confirmed cases in Africa and their total number of cases according to WHO on March 17.
Algeria 60; 5 deaths; 10 recoveries
Burkina Faso 15
Central African Republic 1
Republic of Congo 1
Cote D’Ivoire 5
Democratic Republic of Congo 3
Egypt 164; 6 deaths; 26 recoveries
Equatorial Guinea 1
Morocco 41; 1 death; 1 recovery
Nigeria 3; 1 recovery
Sudan 1 death
Senegal 26; 2 recoveries
Tunisia 24; 1 recovery
South Africa 85
Countries with the most recent cases include Benin, Republic of Congo, Swaziland, Somalia, Seychelles, and Tanzania which confirmed the virus between March 16 and 17. Nigeria has also reported a third confirmed case.
There has been a rise in cases in Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Rwanda, and Ethiopia.
In Africa, 41 cases have recovered from COVID-19.
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